The ball caromed off the rim, off the backboard and off a little of both.
Jonesboro grabbed the ball following six different misses on the same possession before finally putting one through the hoop.
Rutlands inability to grasp a rebound plagued it for a half Thursday against Jonesboro in the GHSA Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Hurricanes recovered with one of their trademark offensive spurts, but the deficit was too large.
The Cardinals (25-6) overcame four Rutland 3-pointers in the final 70 seconds to earn an 84-81 win and a spot in the Final Four for the third time in four years. The Hurricanes lost by a basket at home in the quarterfinals for the second straight season.
Rutlands Tylik Evans led all scorers, while Dallas Smith and Cortez Lattimore scored 16 and 12 points, respectively. Jonesboro had three players with more than 20 points, led by Austin Donaldsons 22.
(The offensive rebounds were) the difference in the game, Rutland head coach Ron Christian said. We came out and got off to a good start, but then we didnt do a good job on the defensive glass.
Jonesboro collected 17 offensive rebounds in the first half, using a 14-3 run to spurt out to a double-digit lead early in the second quarter. The Cardinals continued to use a size advantage among their guards to get into the paint and keep alive possessions and push their lead to as many as 18 in the first half.
They boxed out and did what they had to do, Evans said.
Rutland couldnt quite pull closer than 10 for more than a quarter but finally broke through with a pair of 3-pointers by Evans in the third quarter. The Hurricanes (24-6) had a free throw to get within five points with 2:20 to play in the third quarter, but Jonesboro answered with its own flurry and led by 13 one minute later.
The Hurricanes couldnt get much closer than 10 for most of the fourth quarter, trailing by as many as 10 with 1:11 left to play in the game.
Jaylon Tyson and Jeremy Braswell each made a pair of 3s in the final 65 seconds to get as close as three with 20 seconds left, but Jonesboro stayed solid from the foul line down the stretch.
Freshman James Walker, one of the top recruits in his class in the state, made 9-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals shot 28-of-39 from the foul line in the game.
Braswells second 3-pointer cut Jonesboros lead to 82-79 with 20 seconds left, but Donaldson calmly made two free throws. The Hurricanes made a basket as time expired to finish the game within three points.
Rutland has a very good, very seasoned team, Jonesboro head coach Dan Maehlman said. You know they are going to make a run; you just dont want it to come in the final two minutes. Thats when it came (Thursday), but we made a lot of free throws when we needed to. Some huge free throws. These kids just continue to work.